"He looks like how Westerners think us Asians all look"
Last week, Liu was announced to take the lead in Shang-Chi after it was reported that Marvel was looking for an actor with Chinese heritage to play the role.
Whilst many in the west were excited by the news, it seems that some fans in China were disappointed by the casting decision.
Chinese fans are Marvel for casting an actor that appeases the west’s conceptualization of beauty. On Weibo, the second-most liked response to Marvel’s casting announcement reads, “he looks like how Westerners think us Asians all look.”
“Single eyelid, small eyes, square face, check, check, and check,” another post reads.
Maggie Mao, fashion director of Grazia Magazine China told Inkstone agreed that there is a disconnect between the east and west in terms of beauty.
“The kind of Asian beauty embraced by the West would not be considered mainstream in China at all,” Mao said. “If you look at the Kardashians, how they have become all-consuming in the US, you find both Americans and Chinese are pursuing similar things: a heightened sense of beauty.”
Ruonan Zheng, a senior reporter of Jing Daily agreed that America does not understand what the Chinese believe is beautiful. “I think the real complaint is of Americans’ lack of understanding of China and what’s considered beautiful in China,” Zheng said. “Stunning round eyes, curly hair, and pale skin tone, those are in-vogue beauty trends in China.”
Chinese actress Fan Bingbing and Chinese Canadian singer Kris Wu are cited as examples as popular looks in China.
In terms of Shang-Chi alternatives, many Chinese fans are calling for Taiwanese Canadian actor Eddie Peng to take on the role instead.
Marvel’s Avengers: Endgame made 22% of its box office earnings in China.
In related news, Hong Kong actor Tony Leung being cast as ‘The Mandarin’ in Shang-Chi has stirred up a racism debate.
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